VMware CTO Stephen Herrod: We have to continuously be reinventing ourselves and continue to push the envelope quite hard. We've been working on this strategy of the software-defined data center for a while now, although we've just coined the phrase earlier this year.
The concept is that we've done a great job in server virtualization but whenever you go out and talk to a CIO or someone who's trying to transform everything in the data center, they'll tell you that virtualization has lowered the cost of creating a new virtual machine and we've made it easy to do this, but what about the rest of my infrastructure?
When you really get into the data center, there's a lot of rigidity. Ground zero of that is the network. It's one of the most constraining aspects of the data center today. The number of network admins that say you can only place this here, there's a firewall there -- it's all very constraining to the ultimate vision of having everything being able to move around.
It's been somewhat of a journey for us, where we've started by focusing successfully on server virtualization. Then, our partners and ourselves have been doing quite a bit around storage virtualization. I'd give ourselves and our industry a "B" at this point for making that better. But for networking, I would give it an optimistic "C." That's why software-defined networking has taken off so quickly -- it's recognizing that the same benefits of virtualization that have showed up in other places can occur in the networking space.
NW: Where are we in the software-defined networking life cycle? Are you seeing customers implement this yet, or was part of VMware's purchase of Nicira just planning for the future?
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Herrod: Within the VMware environment, we've been doing quite a bit for a while now. The number of virtual switches we have in our customer base makes us one of the top five vendors of switches, if you count the virtual ones. So within our own environment, we've been taking people forward quite aggressively. But there were two things that we found very interesting about Nicira.